Avoid These 5 Legal Separation Issues on Long Island
Legal separation is an option that many couples use to “try on” a divorce before signing on the dotted line. It keeps you married on paper, but for all intents and purposes, you’re considered separated from your spouse. If you’re thinking about getting a legal separation, here are 5 things you should avoid, as well as one thing you can’t.
#1. Don’t Move Out of Your House
Living with your spouse while legally separated can be extremely difficult, but if you move out of your home, you set a precedent that will most likely work against you later on if you get divorced. Judges prefer to keep the status quo that has already been established, especially if children are involved. If you live outside of your home and away from your children, it will be much harder to gain that back after the fact. A judge is more likely to award child custody and the marital home to your spouse if they have been living in it and caring for the children for a majority of the time since the separation.
#2. Separate Your Finances
When you legally separate from your spouse, one of the first things you should do is separate your finances. Each of you should open a bank account in your own name and close any joint checking or savings accounts you share together. Decide ahead of time who will pay which bill and if possible, have the name on the accounts changed to reflect the new responsible party. This protects you financially in the event that you do pursue a divorce in the future — your spouse cannot take money from your own personal account nor can they keep you on the hook for bills that are now in their name.
#3. Don’t Discuss Your Separation on Social Media
Publicizing your legal separation, especially on social media, isn’t a great idea. Not only does it potentially give your spouse’s lawyers ammunition against you if you later get divorced, but it also opens you up to a great deal of unwanted advice and criticism. Many people will have an opinion about your marriage and won’t be afraid to tell you about it, regardless of whether that opinion is hurtful or constructive. Others will offer advice without having a good understanding of the situation at hand. It’s best to keep your separation quiet if possible, simply to avoid hassle and liability.
#4. Skip the Dating for Now
Separating from your spouse — legally or otherwise — is an emotionally challenging process. It can be tempting to consider entering the dating pool, even for a casual relationship. The human need for attention and validation from a partner is strong and when you cease getting that from your spouse, it’s normal to start thinking about where else you can find emotional support, love, and connectedness. That said, dating while you’re legally separated can be a big mess. You’re much better off taking this time to reflect on why things aren’t working with your spouse and if you’re ready for a divorce.
#5. Take the Initiative to Get Divorced If It’s Not Working
A legal separation isn’t intended to be a permanent solution, but rather, a trial separation that ends once you either decide to repair the relationship with your spouse or ultimately get divorced. Avoid dragging things out longer than necessary. If it’s clear that the separation is something you’re both benefiting from and you know now that you don’t want to be married, go ahead and take that step forward to formally dissolve your marriage both physically and legally. Allowing it to be over when it’s over can help you turn the page to the next chapter of your life.
Separating from Your Spouse on Long Island? You Need an Experienced Divorce Attorney
If you’re considering your separation options, it’s in your best interest to work with an experienced Long Island divorce attorney right out of the gate. Although legal separation tends to be simpler than divorce, there are still many ways you can be negatively impacted if you’re not on guard protecting your rights. At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., we can help. Call today for your initial consultation at 631-923-1910.
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